Good news! For the first time since 2008, the Department of Veterans Affairs has announced an increase in maximum Aid and Attendance benefits available to veterans of the armed forces. These new figures for 2012 reflect a 3.6% cost-of-living adjustment, effective December 1, 2011:
$20,447 per year (~$1,704 per month) for a qualified veteran;
$24,239 per year (~$2,020 per month ) if the veteran is married;
$13,138 per year (~$1,095 per month ) for a surviving spouse of a qualified veteran;
$31,578 per year (~$2,631 per month ) if both spouses are qualified veterans.
What is Veterans Aid & Attendance?
Veterans Aid & Attendance pension benefits are intended to be a form of financial assistance to meet the care needs of veterans and their surviving spouses. If you are younger than age 65, then you must be completely disabled in order to receive this benefit. Those over 65 do not have to be disabled. However, the veteran or spouse must be in need of regular aid and attendance due to: Inability of claimant to dress or undress himself (herself), or to keep himself (herself) ordinarily clean and presentable; frequent need of adjustment of any special prosthetic or orthopedic appliances which by reason of the particular disability cannot be done without aid (this will not include the adjustment of appliances which normal persons would be unable to adjust without aid, such as supports, belts, lacing at the back etc.); inability to feed himself (herself) through loss of coordination of upper extremities or through extreme weakness; inability to attend to the wants of nature; or incapacity, physical or mental, which requires care or assistance on a regular basis to protect the claimant from hazards or dangers incident to his or her daily environment.
It is helpful to note that not all of the disabling conditions in the list above are required to exist. It is only necessary that the evidence establish that the veteran or spouse needs “regular” (scheduled and ongoing) aid and attendance from someone else–not that there be a 24-hour need.
How do I know if I can qualify for Veterans Aid & Attendance Pension Benefits?
You or your spouse must have served on active duty for at least 90 days, at least one day of which occurred during a period designated as wartime (see below). There must have been an honorable discharge as well. Single surviving spouses of such veterans are also eligible.
Periods Designated As Wartime:
World War II — December 7, 1941 through December 31, 1946
Korean Conflict — June 27, 1950 through January 31, 1955
Vietnam Era — August 5, 1964 through May 7, 1975; for veterans who served “in country” before August 5, 1964, February 28, 1961 through May 7, 1975
Gulf War — August 2, 1990 through a date to be set by law or Presidential Proclamation
If you would like to learn more about the Veterans Aid & Attendance program and how the Farr Law Firm can help you obtain the benefits you deserve, contact us!
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